It is so fun discovering new recipes from cultures across America! Prior to this project, I hadn’t heard of a Navajo or Indian taco. I especially had no idea that they were the same thing! When we made our very first list, I had Navajo tacos on the menu for Arizona and Indian Tacos on the menu for South Dakota. Upon further research, I learned they are exactly the same! There is such rich history in some of these foods. Fry bread is the base of a Navajo taco. Fry bread dates back to the mid-1800’s when the Navajo tribe was forced out of their home land and had to endure a long period of pain and suffering. It became a symbol of perseverance, as it was created from the few staple ingredients that the government provided them. It’s true that necessity is the mother of invention, and we are glad for the invention of fry bread!
I waffled back and forth when originally planning this menu. Do we want to do Navajo tacos or cheese crisps? Then I decided we would do them both! Cheese crisps was also a new recipe to me. It is basically an open-faced quesadilla.You butter both sides of the tortilla, then toast it in the oven. Flip it over, and add some cheese. Matt and I added some green chiles on ours, but Levi loved his plain.
Is this salad not the most beautiful thing? It is delicious too! A perfect variety of textures and flavors, tossed with an incredibly tasty pesto buttermilk dressing. This is the Stetson salad. It originates from Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale, AZ. (The original restaurant has closed, but there are still locations at the Phoenix airport). I went to Cowboy Ciao for a work dinner several years ago, and my boss insisted that I try this salad. It surprised me that someone would be so passionate about a salad. That is, until I tasted it myself. It lived up to the hype and is now one of my favorite salads! So of course it belongs on our Arizona menu.
That same boss inspires our dessert selection for Arizona. I didn’t want to have another fried dish in this meal, so I opted not to make sopapillas or a dessert version of fry bread. Instead, I made creme brulee, which is really not iconic to Arizona at all, but it represents Arizona to me. My boss served it at a team dinner held in his home. This dinner became one of my favorite Arizona memories! He cooked a delectable meal that seemed incredibly fancy. He even had the courses printed out on a menu. If you know me, you know how much I loved this! For dessert we had our choice of an apple dumpling or creme brulee. I was so impressed and was secretly trying to figure out how I could throw a dinner party like this. After dinner it was unveiled that the dessert came from the freezer section of the grocery store! I was blown away that something so delicious was as simple as opening a box and sticking it in the oven. A good lesson that sometimes the best things in life are the most simple.
Side note: The creme brulee comes in that cute ramekin! Bonus for getting new dishes when you buy a frozen dessert! Another bonus: Tonight at dinner Cora said, “Doing this is adding more things to my ‘like’ list and taking things off of my ‘don’t like it’ list! Yes! One of the many rewards of this fun project!
Famous Food From Arizona Menu:
Arizona State Facts
- Arizona is the 48th state in the US
- Only found in Arizona, the Apache trout is the state fish
- Indian reservations make up about 1/4 of the stat
- Arizona has an official “state neckwear” – the bolo tie
- Arizona produces more copper than anywhere else in the US
- Famous people from Arizona include Geronimo, Sandra Day O’Conner, Emma Stone
If this is the first state you have visited, check out our first dinner where we enjoyed famous food from Alabama!